MILAN, March 4 (Reuters) – Italian oil and gas group Eni (ENI.MI) said it would partner with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) on energy transition projects as Rome’s new government works to rebuild ties with the United Arab Emirates.
Following a meeting with UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Italian Prime Minister Giorgio Meloni said mutual trust was now being re-established and that future cooperation could range from energy to defence.
“The discussions … went very, very well and we’re going back to a strategic partnership. Italy’s relationship with the UAE, which has always been very strong, has had serious difficulties in recent years,” she told reporters in Abu Dhabi.
Italy stopped selling thousands of missiles to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in 2021, citing Rome’s commitment to restoring peace in Yemen. The UAE in turn demanded that Italy withdraw from a military base in the Gulf.
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State-controlled Eni said it would explore opportunities with ADNOC in renewable energy, blue and green hydrogen and carbon dioxide capture and storage.
The companies will also work to reduce greenhouse gas and methane gas emissions, as well as conventional natural gas flaring.
Italy signed a statement of intent on Saturday with Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the UAE’s climate envoy and designated chair of the COP28 climate summit, who last month pledged to develop an inclusive and innovative plan route map to combat global warming.
“We found our partners to be very open and focused on the priorities on our agenda,” Meloni said.
Meloni said the UAE was particularly interested in Italy’s energy policy in Africa, which was discussed on Saturday alongside topics such as stability in Libya and the financial situation in Tunisia, which have implications for migrant flows.
“I think there’s a strong will on both sides to restore not only a good but a great relationship, a friendship, which I think is very important to our national interest.”
Reporting by Valentina Za; Additional reporting by Hatem Maher in Cairo and Angelo Amante in Rome.Edited by Jane Merriman and Alexandra Hudson
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